Monday, August 23, 2010

The Blind Side

I no longer believe in Murphy's law. I believe in Lola's law. Anything stupid and irritating will happen to me. I hadn't been in the city for a week and on my way to work, I missed my turn-off. No big deal. I took the next exit and turned around. Oh yeah, and while I was finishing my detour, I got into a car accident. At possibly the most screwed up intersection I've ever seen. I don't even know if the cop wrote the other guy a ticket (I know he didn't write me one).

So, there I was. Alone, in a strange city with no car and three dollars cash in my pocket. I have never been more glad that I pay extra for rental coverage (In passing, I note that most law students and lawyers I know have really good car insurance. Trust me, it's a good idea, especially if you live in a no-fault state. Like Pennsylvnia). Of course, I was not so happy when I had issues with my car at the Enterprise. Like, right as they were giving me the keys to the rental. Well, I couldn't get to the bank to figure out the issue. So, I had to find another way to work. Swell. Not like I could just call a friend and have them drive me, now is it? I managed it, waiting all the time for that magic moment when I'd be able to cry into my beer with a friend, maybe someone who had known me longer than 5 days. Texts and calls to various friends yield no results. I break down and accept that Barney is my best shot. At least he always has booze in the house.

"Hey, B. It's Lola. Are you around tonight? I'm in serious need of beer and bar food."
"Sorry! I'm out of town. Anything good going on tonight?"
"Not really. It's my first week of work and I got into a car accident this morning. I just really need to get out."
Being the concerned friend he is, he cuts right to the chase, "Why didn't you just take the SEPTA?"
Dude. Your concern is overwhelming.

Office Space

I work in a pretty nice environment. My co-workers are friendly, helpful and seem genuinely happy. I credit this to the fact that most of them are not lawyers. I find myself being happier and more friendly than normal when I am at work. I know, it's weird. I am, almost by definition, cynical, demanding, and prickly. Yet, when I go to work, I find myself smiling and upbeat. Like I said, it's weird.

But there's an exception to this rule of happy. The dark side of the happy halls of my office space. The office space. We're undergoing construction and, since we're a major hub,we frequently have people coming in from satellite offices for meetings or to staff projects. This means that space is at a premium. People find out who's out of town training or on a project, or just relocating and squat in their office. Mostly by getting there early in the morning, signing on to the computer, and locking it whenever they have to walk down the hallway. Seriously, it's like the Wild, Wild West. You have to get there early and stake your claim. Lay your briefcase down on the desk, and make damn sure you sign on to the computer and leave it locked rather than logging out whenever you have a meeting. It brings out the dark and twisty in our corporate culture. I got to work at my normal time the other day, about 7:45. And, I thought I walked into the wrong office. There was a guy sitting at my desk, as though he'd always been sitting there. I said hello and walked back out to check the plate. Cocky Cowboy gives me a withering stare. And then, the smirky sumbitch asks me what I'm looking for.
"My desk. This is office X, isn't it?" I say, pointedly, looking at the desk. Where I stupidly left only a few generic papers, insufficient to mark my territory. "I'm Lola, by the way. I'm working in the vaguely legal department." He condescended to introduce himself to me and then recline in my desk chair. I just stared at him for a moment, waiting for him to deduce that he was sitting in my space, and you know, maybe give it up and sit in one of the TWO OTHER empty workspaces, instead of the one I was clearly trying to get to. "Well, do you mind using the other desk?" He continued.
Knowing that I couldn't access my computer anyway and that all I had to do that day was some reading and prepping that I could do anywhere, I decided to take the high road, agreed, and sat down at my office mate's desk. I figured it was best not to make waves.

And then my phone rang. I could see from the caller I.D. that it was my supervisor. And he got all huffy when I asked him to please hand me the phone. And then he continued to passive-aggressively make faces and noises when people came into the office to meet with me or drop things off. He was even shirty with Bosslady. Bosslady was pissed. Bosslady is awesome.

Oh, hell no. I really don't know what it is about me that makes some men think they can treat me like they're some ditzy, vaguely irritating, caricature of an Eisenhower-era secretary. Maybe I smiled too much when I walked in, maybe my ponytail was too high, maybe it was a mistake to wear a dress with a floral pattern. Whatever. It won't happen again. Next time he is in my office, he will not sit at my desk, especially since once I get everything settled in I'll have sensitive information there. I made a trip to the little store and bought some stuff for my desk and resolved to get there even earlier the next day to stake my claim. In our little Western, he's the vaguely weak and evil cowboy who wears black and is missing teeth. I am the woman who runs the saloon and keeps a rifle under the bar and a tiny pistol in her cleavage. It's on, Cowboy. This office ain't big enough for the both of us. Give me back my office, or I'll shoot your ass off.